Everything that is possible in dentistry is possible for any new dentist. That’s saying a lot, since the possibilities in this profession have never been greater.
A license to practice dentistry today is an opportunity to write your own ticket. As with most great opportunities, the rewards go to those who are prepared to seize them. This preparation is not something that comes with the diploma, it comes with mastering the essential drivers of success that are in force in any practice.
Most dentists work for many years before they master these essentials – and some never do. The few that “get it” right from the start are the few that really tap into the incredible rewards that dentistry has to offer.
To be one of the few, you have to approach your first five years in practice as an intense residency period, whether you’re a start-up owner or an associate. This period is similar to a crash course in dental practice reality and will get you up to speed quickly on what the best practices are doing.
Ultimately, the success you will enjoy in your career is largely a measure of how soon you do the following:
Master clinical expertise
Look at how much dentistry has advanced in the last 30 years and yet it’s still taught in a four-year program. Dental schools do a great job of providing a solid foundation for a career, but it’s up to you build on that foundation by getting the advanced clinical training that exemplifies today’s top dentists.
Master value creation
You can be the best clinician in the history of dentistry and it won’t do you much good if you can’t make your patients see that value. Effective case presentation is an art in itself and since it ultimately determines what kind of dentistry you get to perform, you want to be a pro at this.
Master the business of dentistry
Your best interests and the best interests of your patients go hand in hand. It’s no secret that it’s the dental practices with the healthiest business operations – sound financial management, effective team leadership, a focus on consistent profitability and growth – that have the resources to provide the highest level of patient care.
So how do you achieve this mastery so quickly?
Help is all around you, but you have to make it a point to position yourself so you can make the most of it. Start by signing up for local evening CE lectures and retreat weekend workshops. Join a study club. If you’re starting as an associate, join forces with a successful senior doctor who will take the time to mentor you.
In short, surround yourself with people who see your higher value, and who will keep you accountable to your career plan. Do these things right and do them right now. Your successes will accelerate and compound to the point where you achieve complete professional, personal and financial freedom by mid-career.
The fact is, if you’re a young new dentist you're already rich in one vital way – you have time on your side. But as with any kind of wealth, it’s what you do with it that counts.
(Click this link to read moredental practice management articles by Imtiaz Manji.)